Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Department or Program

Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L

First Reader

Susan Morris, PhD, OTR/L


Sleep is an emerging area of research and practice for occupational therapists. The purpose of this study was to identify and investigate how college students’ cognitive perceptions and beliefs about sleep affect their quality of sleep. Four college students participated in qualitative interviews investigating their sleep beliefs and attitudes. The students also completed a two-week daily sleep diary to report their sleep beliefs, attitudes, and daily living patterns. Four emerging themes were identified from the interviews: beliefs about sleep patterns related to temporal structure of sleep, stress, daytime performance associated with sleep, and conflicting beliefs about sleep. Daily sleep diaries also revealed inconsistencies between idealized and actual sleep patterns. Based on the identified themes and sleep diary data, researchers concluded that college students do not have defined beliefs and attitudes about the value of sleep or consistent, routine sleep schedules. Occupational therapy interventions should strive to identify beliefs and attitudes about sleep in order to change non-adaptive beliefs and help clients develop routines to improve sleep quality and daytime performance.